Like fellow NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series racer Eddie Krawiec, Doug Kalitta is hoping to finally reach his milestone 50th career win at this year’s Flav-R-Pac NHRA Northwest Nationals.
Top Fuel’s most experienced current Top Fuel driver, with 576 career starts spanning 25 seasons under his safety belts, hasn’t reached the winner’s circle since October 2020, but with the way his Alan Johnson- and Brian Husen-tuned Mac Tools dragster is trending, the wait might not be too much longer.
After launching his 25th season with a semifinal finish in Gainesville and then a No. 1 qualifying berth and a victory in the Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge in Phoenix, the Kalitta train derailed with three straight first-round losses but has been to the semifinals or better at two of the tour’s three most wins, including a runner-up last weekend at the Mile-High Nationals.
They team also has qualified in the top six at the three, topped by a No. 2 in Denver, where they made seven straight passes within about a tenth of second before they smoked the tires against Clay Millican in the final.
"I'm obviously very proud of what we've accomplished to get to 49. and we'd love to get to 50," he said. "You try not to make too big a deal out of it, but it's certainly getting to that point with three years, but we'll just keep digging. We've got the best equipment that you can buy and the best guys tuning these cars with Alan Johnson and Brian, so it's just a matter of, hopefully, all the stars lining up one day and making it to the final and getting another win. It's a humbling sport, for sure, but you've just gotta take the good with the bad.
“I am looking forward to [this race],” added Kalitta, who has one Seattle victory, in 2014, to his credit. “We ran really well in Denver and have been for a few races now. I think we can build on that this weekend. Our Mac Tools Toyota dragster has been great in qualifying for sure. We have a great car and a great team -- we just need a couple of things to go our way on raceday. I’m really proud of my guys with the way they’ve been busting their butts all season, and I know race wins are right around the corner.”
Kalitta’s 56-race victory drought, dating back to his win at the 2020 Midwest Nationals in St. Louis, is the second longest of his career stretching back to his breakthrough win in Sonoma in 1998. His longest drought spanned 81 races, from his win in Denver in 2010 to his tally in Dallas in 2013, with four runner-ups between those wins.